Commonwealth Games gold medalist Kathryn Mitchell has been awarded the prestigious title of Ballarat Sportsperson of the Year.
Mitchell, who was unable to attend the event, addressed the crowd via a pre-recorded video from South Africa. The Commonwealth Games gold medalist, in javelin, said she was thrilled to win such an award.
Mitchell joked that she was wondering if she would ever get a chance to win the award given the array of sporting talent Ballarat has possessed in recent years.
Nonetheless she was proud to accept the award and reflected on what was a year to remember for the javelin thrower.
"I was starting to wonder if, and when, I would win this award," Mitchell said.
"It just goes to show the calibre of athlete that Ballarat can produce.
"It's a real big thrill to win the award and I'd like to thank everyone for recognising my efforts through 2018."
Mitchell said an unbelievable 2018 campaign came off the back of a testing period through 2017. But after taking the appropriate steps, Mitchell delivered a resurgent 12 months and said she would find it hard to believe anything could top the last year in her sporting life.
"The 2018 was a very successful season...I came off 2017, it was a really difficult year, there was a lot of things going on.
"We had a lot of work to do (leading into the Games)...but the results kept coming, it was a little bit beyond belief.
"No matter what happens in my career, I'm not sure anything can top the Commonwealth Games result."
After winning the women’s javelin at the Gold Coast Games – and setting a new Australian record in the process – Mitchell now has sights set on achieving more glory at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
It's a real big thrill to win the award and I'd like to thank everyone for recognising my efforts through 2018.Kathryn Mitchell
Mitchell has been able to break the national record set by Kim Mickle back in 2014 and better it twice, finally by throwing a new Commonwealth Games mark of 68.92m to claim gold.
The other nominees for the award were Shaun Findlay (alpine skiing), Zoe Hives (tennis), Shannon Malseed (cycling), Kolbe Poole (eight ball), Sam Rizzo (wheelchair athletics) and Katrina Werry (rowing).
In other awards, wheelchair athlete Sam Rizzo received the Wunhym award, widely-respected football coach Howard Clark received the Widmer award, rower Katrina Werry received the Hollioake medallion and Peter Wilson earned the Mckenzie award.